Black Classics

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Black Classics

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Apr 27, 2008, 9:33pm

I am a great fan of the black covers Penguin printed from the 1960s to the early 1980s. So understated, they added to the mystery and gravity of the worthy tomes they enclosed. Penguin had great graphic values in the 1960s and 1970s, before they got all gaudy in the 1980s.

I collect ancient and medieval titles in this format. "Collect" might be too strong a word, but I look out for them whenever I visit a second hand book store. They were still printing them when I was an undergraduate. I was inspired to collect by my father-in-law, who I knew when young, who had rows upon rows of solemn yet funky Penguin Classics black spines. A lot of them vanished before he passed away, sad to say.

I love finding the rare titles (every store seems to have the plays of Aristophanes, or Piers Plowman. But, as time passes, these covers will get harder and harder to find. Despite this passion, I have covers in each of the four major styles. I perfer the current covers over those they started producing in the mid-1980s.

Anyone else have a passion for a particular cover style?

Apr 27, 2008, 11:38pm

Not for a particular cover style, but for particular covers, yes, which may only be available in certain styles. The cover art can change significantly from one edition to the next, and although I didn't care much for the green colour of the Penguin 20th Century Classics editions, I love/d many of the black and white photographs they chose for their covers. Of course, the series is now out of print, and unfortunately their replacements aren't always equally interesting.

Apr 28, 2008, 6:03am

#1 - I am a major fan of the cool austerity of the original PC cover format. I have purchased eighty or so in the last couple of years and my mania for the series has if anything increased of late.

Like you, I favour collecting my ancient and medieval titles in this binding, as well as Russian literature. And French. And Italian. And German, and basically anything and everything.

I lot of the cover images need scanning as only the more recent versions seem to have been added by users thus far. I'll try to add a few when I unpack the library we have acquired whilst living in New York on returning to the UK in the summer.

I am currently reading Germinal in the original PC binding on my commute.

Oct 2, 2011, 9:42pm

I like the covers with the black at the bottom, like in A Hero of Our Time